40 samples (nine might be missing, but see below) of decorated leathers of various animals, with annotations. Seven folding leaves. Oblong 8vo (128 x 224 mm.), orig. wrappers (many leaves somewhat wormed but not touching any of the swatches), stitched. [Japan]: late Edo.
Japan has always had a rich tradition of decorative leather work, employing the skins of deer, cows, monkeys, and horses. The leather products were used in trimming on military costumes, decorative clothing, and accessories (arrow quivers, gloves, shoes, saddles, jackets, religious decorations for temples, etc.).
The swatches in this manuscript are categorized by technique and complexity and include stencilled leathers, leathers stamped by copper plates for an embossed effect, etc. Some of the categories include samples produced by washing and dyeing the leathers, leathers suitable for use in military costumes, grades of indigo dye, dyes from lacquer (resulting in urushi gawa or lacquered leather), and distinct classic patterns. The dyed leathers comprise a wide range of colors, derived from tea leaves, indigo, pigments from safflowers, etc.
We state at the top that nine swatches, according to the manuscript numeration, seem to be missing, but there is no evidence that any samples are actually absent (no blank areas on the leaves).
At the end, we find the name “Sonosuke Enshin” with his manuscript seal.
Item ID: 7043